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Pilkington v Wood [1953] Ch 770

Contract Law – Damages, Remoteness and Mitigation

Pilkington v Wood [1953] Ch 770 is a key case within the contract law degree module for university LLB degree courses. The case concerns the mitigation of loss within a contract.

Facts:

The claimant in this case bought freehold land from a seller. The claimant later tried to sell the property. The trustee was the previous owner of the property. The trustee was not able to sell as it was a breach of contract to have owned the property.

The claimant sued the solicitor, who conveyed the property, for negligence. The solicitor agreed to the negligence claim. The solicitor argued the claimant should have sued the seller for an implied covenant of the title. The claimant also brought an action for the loss caused by the fact he needed to move shortly after purchasing the property and was struggling to sell the freehold for the current value.

Issue:

Was the solicitor liable for the claimant’s losses and the additional losses caused by needing to move?

Held:

The claimant was eligible to sue the solicitor for negligence for the loss in value caused by the title being defective in comparison to if it was not. The claimant was not eligible to sue for the cost incurred by needing to move and sell the property as a reasonable person would not have anticipated incorporating a sudden move into the value.

The solicitor did not notice the defective title so he had the onus of negligence, the court found protection from liability for the seller. Furthermore, the defendant stated they would counterclaim against the solicitor while resisting the original liability resulting in complex litigation. The court stated it was not the responsibility of the claimant to begin litigation against the seller to make up for the loss caused by his solicitor’s carelessness.

OSCOLA reference this article/case: Lawlessons, ‘Pilkington v Wood [1953] Ch 770 ‘ (LawLessons, 11th August 2021) <https://lawlessons.co.uk/pilkington-v-wood-1953-ch-770> accessed 8th July 2022


Published inDamages, Remoteness and Mitigation
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